A THEORY OF MULTICOLOR BLACKBODY EMISSION FROM RELATIVISTICALLY EXPANDING PLASMAS
2011 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 732, no 1, 49- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We consider the emission of photons from the inner parts of a relativistically expanding plasma outflow, characterized by a constant Lorentz factor, Gamma. Photons that are injected in regions of high optical depth are advected with the flow until they escape at the photosphere. Due to multiple scattering below the photosphere, the locally emerging comoving photon distribution is thermal. However, as an observer simultaneously sees photons emitted from different angles, hence with different Doppler boosting, the observed spectrum is a multicolor blackbody. We calculate here the properties of the observed spectrum at different observed times. Due to the strong dependence of the photospheric radius on the angle to the line of sight, for parameters characterizing gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) thermal photons are seen up to tens of seconds following the termination of the inner engine. At late times, following the inner engine termination, both the number flux and energy flux of the thermal spectrum decay as F proportional to t(-2). At these times, the multicolor blackbody emission results in a power law at low energies (below the thermal peak), with power-law index F-nu proportional to nu(0). We discuss the implications and limitations of this result in the study of GRBs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 732, no 1, 49- p.
gamma rays, general, plasmas, radiation mechanisms, thermal, radiative transfer, scattering, X-rays: bursts
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-33247DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/732/1/49ISI: 000289626500049ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79955615545OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-33247DiVA: diva2:415236
QC 201105062011-05-062011-05-022011-05-06Bibliographically approved